First Lines: The Boys from Brazil

It is 1974, we are in South America, and witness Josef Mengele sending several SS-officers on a mission, which, if successful, should bring about the Fourth Reich. Elderly Nazi-hunter Yakov Liebermann gets tipped off, and we follow him while he tries to figure out what is happening, and then, trying to stop it.

My problem with Ira Levin’s 1976 thriller The Boys from Brazil is, quite frankly, that it was written in the 1970s, and I read it in 2017. Knowing what I know, a thriller about Mengele cloning Hitler (96 times), and arranging for these clones to have an upbringing similar to Hitler’s so that they would grow up just like him, well, it just does not have the same bite. I mean, cloning is not, as it would be in the ‘70s, indistinguisable from magic. Mengele is dead. The posed threat just is not that threatening anymore.

That said, it was a cracking read. You get pieces of information, you try to figure out just what the heck is going on, and it all slowly falls into place, and you are all, like, well I’ll be damned. That was fun. Then Mengele goes out to save what there is to be saved of his masterplan that is falling apart, and we get to worry about Liebermann. Sen from our technological advanced point of view, it is adorably cute to see there prehistoric Luddite cluelessly go about their business. The Boys from Brazil might be dated and not have aged terribly well, but it sure was entertaining me.

Book read
Ira Levin — The Boys From Brazil
First line
Early one evening in September of 1974 a small twin-engine plane, silver and black, sailed down on to a secondary runway at Sao Paolo’s Congonhas Airport, and slowing, turned aside and taxied to a hangar where a limousine stood waiting.